Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter NYC Visit and Bento

Over our recent weekend visit to NYC, we concentrated on Chinatown and nearby Delancey Street on day one, and the Art Deco glories of midtown on day two.

It was warming fun to start each morning with a big coffee shop breakfast: eggs, home fries and of course, lox and bagels:

Hopping on the subway down to Delancey Street, we were delighted by these beautiful aquatic mosaics by artist Ming Fay. As Fay explains, "Shad Crossing details two giant shad fish "swimming", along with another wall mosaic of blue waters. In the late 19th century, these shad were found along the Hudson River when new immigrants came to New York, most of them settled on the Lower East side."

As a steady rain picked up, we navigated over to Chinatown. New Year's decorations were everywhere on display, with gold and red tones full of bright cheer and confidence:

These elegant ladies decorated an herbalist's window:

Bright produce and flowers glowed in the rain:

Lovely hints of spring:

At Aji Chiban, a colorful selection of candies and sweet-salty-gingery treats:

The next day, we explored Midtown, including Kinokuniya's rich assortment of Japanese books, stationary, decorative papers and small but sweet selection of bento boxes. My last post touched on delightful discoveries at this shop; today I used my new Kutusitanyanko bento set for the first time:

In the blue box, a mix of baby salad greens, yellow peppers, avocado and daikon heart garnish; in the yellow, crab shumai with mixed vegetable pickles, chrysanthemum greens and a purple grape skewer; scallions and enokis in the little ivory box and for dessert, apple slices glazed with honey and almond slices, and a Mozartkugeln chocolate.

We found these lovey-dovey pigeons in Bryant Park: (photos by Jamison)

Some current street food selections:

Close to Grand Central Station, the Gothic details on this building reminded me of architecture I loved in Italy:

Close by, a distinctively New York architectural expression: the Art Deco skyscraper. The diverse influences of this style--Far and Middle Eastern, organic and linear, ancient and machine age--combined into something so unique and beautiful. These details seem to surge and radiate with a refined, urbane vitality:

At the Chrysler Building, one feels inside a temple of modernism, a lost age of the

After all this time travel, we were hungry for lunch. I suggested the Oyster Bar in the lower level of Grand Central as we are both seafood fanatics, and it was close by. I've always loved their fried oysters; Jamison ordered scallops and lobster in a rich, creamy, paprika-laced sauce:

The view of the station's famous celestial ceiling from our table:

Grand Central is a cornucopia of edible treats, to include a wonderful food hall with any number of delights:

Near our hotel in Koreatown, a view of the Empire State Building at night:

As Korean food lovers, this was a great location. The haemul dolsot bibimbab at Han Bat had the most deliciously crispy rice and savory seafood. Yum!

 Looking forward to our next visit!


sherimiya said...

Me too, I am looking forward to your traveling.. so I can enjoy your experiences with you! I love the pictures and the story; it sounds like you had a wonderful time! I love those mosaics, and the photos of Chinatown and Koreatown sparked memories of my own from when I lived in New Jersey and would visit NYC on NJT.
Lovely inaugural bento in the coveted nesting Kutusitanyanko boxes too! It's so ethereal and wonderfully natural. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Lil'chan said...

It is great to see so many lovely inspirations and pictures from your travel and reading your comments ^.^

Angi said...


Lia Chen said...

Jenn, all pictures are so great! Love to see places that far far away from here through this posting. Thanks for sharing :)

Flying Lily said...

What a fabulous bento! And the architectural points of interest very beautifully photographed.

bentobird said...

Hi Sheri!
Just curious, when were you in NJ? I lived in New Brunswick and Princeton in the early 90's and commuted from there to N.Y.U., so I'm familiar indeed with NJT! Glad you enjoyed these pictures and that they brought back city memories for you...your comments inspire me in my bentoing and blogging--thank you!
Have a great weekend :)

bentobird said...

Hi Lil'chan!
So happy you liked this post, my friend! Its really a pleasure to share foodie travel adventures with you :)

bentobird said...

Hi Angi :)
Thank you for your sweet comment (and awesome blog)!

bentobird said...

Dear Lia,
Thank you for sharing this trip with me! I would be so interested to see images from where you live and produce your incredible bento productions!!

bentobird said...

Hi Flying Lily!
How are things? Looking forward to visiting your blog :) So glad you liked this mini-tour of some NYC highlights--there is so much there to see and marvel at...and for a bentoist, neverending inspiration!

Lexi said...

Such an evocative description! I'd love to go to NYC. Those cannoli look absolutely divine!

bentobird said...

Dear Lexi,
Thank you for coming along this little NYC adventure with me! Love your kitty icon :)

hapa bento said...

Hi Jenn, I'm just catching up with all the blogs and I must of missed this extraordianry expose of your recent trip to NYC. One of my favorite buildings is the Chrysler! Although I've only seen it in photos and movies, I imagine it's an Art Deco paradise. I must get to NYC someday. It's on my list.

Your new bento boxes look exciting. I bet they were tasty!

Keep your stories coming. I'm captivated.

megan said...

jenn this post was such a treat for me as a new yorker and fellow bentoist/food lover! even though i live here, seeing my own city (and in fact my own neighborhood - i used to live at the delancey stop!) through your eyes was like seeing it for the first time.

drop me a line next time you are in NYC so we can meet up at one of these places :-)

Judy said...

Gosh I would love to say hey the next time you're in the city Look me up! Your pictures are wonderful ! Let us live a life with fellow bento artists via photos. Peace!

bentobird said...

Hi Debra!
Lovely comments, thank you! I would be so excited for you to see NYC and the Chrysler Building and hope it can happen in the near term! We were lucky to visit on MLK day, so most folks who work in the building were on vacation and we could really soak in the amazing details and atmosphere wthout being buffeted by crowds.
Manhattan is a living museum of the 20th century, and some of its locations still embody and transmit a unique, gleaming, thrilling 30's-40's sensibility. I'm so glad we explored this particular location which in my NYC days I'd walked by so many times, or just admired from a distance!

bentobird said...

Hi Megan!
How awesome--thank you! I am so happy for you to have the city as creative/culinary resource and inspiration, and yes, we must plan a get-together :) Hubby and I both have NY roots, combining upstate and downstate migrations: we visited Delancey Street to explore the neighborhood where his great-grandfather worked as a diamond cutter in the city's original diamond district. I have Italian and Jewish ancestors who lived in Lower Manhattan after arriving in America(while my French-Canadian and Scots-Irish grandmother grew up on a farm in Albany)...we both anticipate a return to the area eventually!

bentobird said...

Hi Judy!
I just love this: "Let us live a life with fellow bento artists via photos"--yes indeed! How lucky to have this medium and creative kindred spirits!